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On This Day in 1961, French Police Murdered Dozens of Pro-independence Algerians

October 17, 1961: A massacre of Algerians in the heart of Paris

In deep secrecy, the FLN started organising a march against the curfew and police repression of Algerians more broadly. The group called on Algerian men, women and children to take to the streets of Paris on the evening of October 17.

Some Algerians were beaten to death, bludgeoned by clubs, batons or other such contraptions. Some were shot dead. Some were thrown into the Seine; some already dead, some still alive, their feet and hands bound. They were the people "drowned by bullets" according to Paris police HQ's official expression. For several days, those bodies washed up in the Seine and Paris's canals.

The Paris chief of police, Maurice Papon, who organized the repression, was later appointed to the cabinet under President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1978 to 1981). During the 1980s, Papon's role  in the deportation of 1,600 Jews of Bordeaux to Drancy from 1942-44, under the Vichy government, came to light. Papon was finally tried for crimes against humanity and was convicted in 1998; he died in 2007.

by Bernard (bernard) on Sun Oct 17th, 2021 at 06:34:59 PM EST
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